El Torito Goodbyes - Aaron Olsen

I just got back from El Torito with the rest of the IT Gang. Yes, yet another IT-er that we are letting flee off into the world beyond our basement here in Geisel. I love these little going away luncheons. It begins with everyone rolling into the office a little later than usual. It doesn't really matter because when the token time of 11:00am rolls around, everyone's making their last minute runs to the ATMs outside of Price Center to grab cash for a quick and easy payment on the dreaded group bill at the end of our meals. BLAH. Yeah, patience, I will tell you all about the bill later. :)

So, as usual, I hitched a ride with Arley, Grandpa of the department. He's the hard working old man that walks around with smiley faces, grabbing everyone's hand and squeezing them like they're little tykes, when in fact we're mid 20s and early 30s (which I guess is little tyk-ish compare to his age). Arley always offers to drive, he's such a gentleman. Michelle, JoAnne and I all hop in the car also. JoAnne works in a different department, but she knows Aaron, so she was specially invited my Michelle, the Dept AA.

We all make our way to El Torito, sweet! There's a lunch special, buffet for $8.99. We sit for a good 15 minutes, and finally Declan makes it, while there are already 8 of us there. We order up drinks (Arley is the bravest of us to order a margarita at 12p!) and 85% of end up shootin' for the buffet. I was trying to beast up on the buffet like most Samoans usually do, especially at $8.99, what a deal!!! However, after my first fajita, I slowly grew the satisfaction pain in my stomach of becoming full. Disappointed, I tried to sit there and let the food process in hopes that I could complete another round, nope. Wasn't happening. Declan, Michelle AND Arley got up for Round 2 and I was STILL processing. Finally ate what I could, and left a few grains of rice on the place with the last quarter of my fajita uneaten. I was stuffed. :( Downed a tropical tea and I was ready to sit back and relax and let the food coma take over. Of course by that time everyone had grown into it after their Round 2s and a couple more flakes of chips with salsa.

Eating usually consists of good chatter. They all had great things to say, my little end of the table, with Arley, JoAnne, Michelle and Declan. :) What did we talk about? Only what sparks ANYONE's interest at a dinner table... FOOD (and Beer). It was great, we were talking about Japanese noodles, Pho noodles, sushi in Hillcrest and Poway, Todai and Rei de Gado's brazillian skewers of meat! Of course, during our chatter the bill begins to circulate and before I know it, I'm dishing out a dub from my old and worn out Coach Wallet. I grabbed $6 dollars of change from the pile of cash in the check tablet after asking Michelle how much we add on to our total. I hate group outings with dinner tabs, something ALWAYS comes up with the bill. And to everyone's sarcastic surprise... something did. The bill totaled to to $189 and some change, $150 was collected for the bill, and there were two charges to the credit cards... $18 and $15... hmm... that totals to, $183... ? did someone count the money before we handed it back?... No? yeah, no wonder everyone had to dish out singles like we were at a strip club right before we left the table. Michelle, our trusted AA, didn't even touch the bill, so yeah, that is most likely the reason everything went wrong. But not gravely wrong, $7 short isn't too bad compared to $30. :)

Anyway, I wanted to note how sweet Declan was for pulling out my chair. Yes, he's older and very well mannered, but I wouldn't expect the Dept head to pull out my chair for me while I stood up to head to the buffet line. Samoans grow up in very hierarchical families, we know our place on the totem pole, and we respect those above us. Him doing that just let me know that chivalry does exist. Amen!!! :D Boy how that made my day. It could have been anyone to do it, but just that gesture alone let me feel like a Lady. :)

Yeah, well that's it. :D

have a beautiful day, and good luck to you Aaron on your way out to Georgia to save the world. :D


To kill or not to kill

Alright, another blogpost from my wandering mind of critical thinkability. My girl Keli posted this question as a note on her facebook, and I responded, and decided to share with the rest of the world my thoughts. Just THOUGHTS... k, thanks. :)


Keli writes on April 24th...

I was reading about this topic tonight for my online class and decided to see if my lovely fb friends had any opinions on the matter...

Do you think killing in the defense of the innocence, including yourself, is ever justifiable?

AND... my response on May 13th... :)

LMBO. Well, I wasn't exactly tagged in this note, NOR am I responding in a timely fashion, since this note looks to have been posted last month, however, I do want to comment, just because this seems interesting to me and I had, yes, a thought. ;) Is killing in the defense of those who are innocent justifiable. I say, YES. It doesn't depend, there's no meandering through a forest of clouded thoughts of what if, the answer is yes. Many people will first think to God's commandments, "Thou shall not kill" and "Thou shall not murder" however many people fail to realize that God's letter to the world carries on with what the rest of the books in the Bible has to say also. In Ephesians, the Bible tells us that there's a TIME FOR EVERYTHING - yes, it even says there is a time to KILL. If you look at the word KILL in relation to what the Hebrew meaning of "kill" and "murder" meant - it meant to kill with malicious intent aka no good reason. In terms of war, be it called at the right or wrong time, there is a time for it. The Bible also says that we should stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves, speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and etc... aka defend those who are defenseless. Yes we can further complicate this whole discussion with "an eye for an eye would make the world go blind" but I'll just stick to one topic. LoL. This is what ultimately justifies that statement in question. I base my answer solely on the Bible, because from my perspective, it's the only guidance of absolute truth I find in this world. So yes, if there are innocent people dying, we must intercede and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves - and if that means kill those for those that have been killed and defend those who are still alive from BEING killed, so be it. If a child is getting picked on terribly by a bully 5 times his size, would you let it continue? My hope is that you wouldn't. Yes, it actually is as elementary as that, in my thoughts. To illustrate this on a bigger scale, take for instance Adolf Hitler. Had Adolf not been defeated during World War 2, think of how many MORE innocent lives would have been slaughtered at his hand - a complete debacle of destructive events!


My Twin Soul

You never realize what you have until it's gone.

It's true, and yes to my sisters (Lisha, Vange, Nelley and Moni lol) DISTANCE makes the heart grow fonder.

I anticipated driving home Thursday evening to be with Gramma for one last night, but the freaken kuikui Sao bought ended up melting in my freezer while I was at work, and I didn't want to make the drive from San Diego to Barstow while it wasn't frozen, so I waited. I contemplated even driving home early in the next morning, but I couldn't bare the thought of not being able to sleep with Gramma for one last night, so... I strapped up my laundry and toilries for a long and unwelcomed weekend back home. The clock struck midnight and I was packed and ready to hit the road.

I arrived around 2am, groggy and completely exhausted from work and the drive. I grabbed my heavy laundry hamper from the passenger seat of my car and lugged all 30lbs of it to my front door. As soon as I keyed the door to open, I plopped my hamper on the floor, shut the door, locked it, and headed straight to the bed.

There she was, sleeping, and all I could feel was joy, pain, sorrow and happiness - all in the same breath. It was the most peaceful sight everytime I arrived back home to a bed, half taken by Gramma, becuase she knew I was coming home, and I would always sleep right next to her.

I flicked the lights on quickly and her eyes opened, she smiled. "Auoi, aga fea e sau ai?" I just smiled, and then she smiled back at me. She then motioned me to come over, grabbing a blanket from my side of her bed, trying to lay out it for me to get rest from my long drive. She always thought the drive was much too long, but I always had to assure her that after 5 years, I'm very used to it.

I turned the lights back off and hopped into bed. She made sure her hearing aids were tucked under her pillow. She always did that to make sure she could locate them in the morning to hear. Haha. Thank God for those hearing aids, they worked so much better than the ones she had back in the days... we'd be yelling at Gramma everyday just to communicate with her. I think that's why I'm so loud these days, I never adjusted to normal hearing people. Ha.

As she comfied into her sleeping state, I sat there as she shut her eyes and mumbled a prayer. She always mumbled at night. Sometimes they were prayers, sometimes they were just her thoughts, sometimes she was just talking to herself. I usually just sit there and either laugh at what she's saying in my pillow, or I'll just zone it out to sleep, but not this time. This time was different.

As I laid right next to her, my heart dropped into the depths of my gut, waves of emotion came over me, and sure enough, what used to be a smile turned into a frown of sadness, and tears began gushing out of my eye sockets. There I was... LAYING NEXT TO GRAMMA, IN TEARS. Overcome with so much emotion, I was sobbing so hard the bed kept jerking at my every deep enhale. I tried to calm myself down so as to not wake her from the movement, but I just couldn't help but let out all of my tears that I had been holding in since the Sunday afternoon the family made the decision, that we would stop fighting Gramma against her will, and send her back to Samoa - her wish she had been longing to fulfill far too late within her life. It had been 30 years since Gramma had been in the states when she moved with her children to Hawaii for the better life, and at the end of her days, raising 8 kids, 15 grandkids and a handful of great grandkids, she has finally found herself longing to be in Samoa where her heart is.

My heart aches thinking about how far away she is. It aches more becuase what she means to me, and our history. Gramma raised me from birth while Mom worked full time, and while Dad was out in the field, at war, and stationed at a distant location in the Marines. Gramma took care of us, she fed us, sewed our clothes, fixed our hair, taught us how to speak in Samoan (although that didn't last long). She is literally the best cook I know. No one's - AND I MEAN NO. ONEs. sapasui can compare to hers - and for the record, I haven't tasted sapasui better than the first batch I can remember reating distinctly when I was in 8th grade in Washington. COLD PIE (lol, which is what I grew up calling kopai) isn't the same without Grammas special caramelized sauce. Her upside down pineapple cake is absolutely to die for. No cocoa rice is made with the same amount of love than Gramma's. If her hands were still youthful like her heart was, she'd wipe out every Samoan woman in the sewing business, becuase Gramma had the best taste in style, color and cut for puletasis, mumu'us, i'e faikagas and alohas. She didn't just make what you wanted, she made puletasis that flattered YOU, and better believe she was on point with color contrast and skin tones! That's how I learned all of that. ;) She always made sure I looked neat and had the most unique style - that's how I am everything I am today. She's super goofy too. Youtube made her pretty popular with her BALLIN status of beating me and Jonas at TROUBLE. Dang. She's so random too, at times she'll just do weird things just to make us laugh, like - how is someone that old, still in contact with her funny bone like that? LoL. She's the diva Gramma I mold myself after - just so divalicious!!! LoL! :) Hmm, I wonder where I get it from? jk LMBO. I'm gonna be JUST LIKE HER one day when I'm old and taking care of my kids and grandkids. :)

Gramma's number one question to me "Leata, when are you koing to ket married? Pretty soon I koin' die!". Gee Gramma, way ta put the pressure on me!!! LOL! I swear, it doesn't ever play out for her. To this day, Gramma has never seen any of her grandchildren get married the right way, so because I haven't had a baby and am done with school, she believes that's my next step in life. Oh if I could just have all the money in the world, I'd grant her that wish, but too bad life doesn't work that way. Nor does love, so yeah, haha, NEXXXXXT! LoL. Before she left Friday evening she sat me down while she sat in her chair and she told me she really wishes to see me marry. It touched me the most when she said that she wanted me to get married soon because she wanted to sew for my wedding. I almost cried, that would have been the most awesome thing to have happened. Sadly, Gramma set a very high bar for everything from, fashion to food, to funny and flavor... dang it Gramma, you ruined it for the rest of the world. LoL. Dah well, I'm so thankful. :)

She's a 2nd mother to me, and oddly enough, many times, I can always agree with myself, that she was actually my FIRST mother. She took care of me out of my mother's womb, and I know I grew attached to her since the moment she held me in her arms at birth. 

Seeing her go back to Samoa to live, feels like losing a loved one. I won't be able to see her laying on the bed, half empty, waiting for me to hop in, cozy up, stare at her a while, and then fall asleep. She's not here to make me laugh at any of her random words, or outright crazy behavior, because at her age, wow, they just get weirder and weirder! She won't be able to pester me about when I'm going to marry. She's not going to give me the final go on any of my outfits. She's so cute "Oh, niiiiice your dress" lol. I wont be able to see her hobble to the bathroom, or scurry to the ktichen table for her meals. All that is now a fond memory of mine from the very near past.

I've been strong up until my last night sleeping with her. There I cried out so many tears that have been building up, becuase I know that her leaving is what she wants, and so many time, we pain and grieve over things that happen against the way we wish them to. But... she's happy, and how could I ever keep her from  being happy?

I don't regret any moment with her, I saw the pain in her teras and her face the day she was leaving. She held us tight, she shed tears as she held her kleenex to her wet eyes. She gave us her blessings to find someone who would treat us well and marry us. She prayed for our lives, she apologized for missing out on anything important from here on out, because she'd be in Samoa, but at the end of the day, we know, all wil be well when she touches down in Samoa. She said her heart is in Samoa, but the sad thing about that, is that she's my heart, and now she's in Samoa too, so I guess my heart is in Samoa.

I love you, diva Gramma. My prayer for my Gramma is that she may live her ending years in happiness, where her heart is, in Samoa. I also pray that my wedding day is one that comes BEFORE the Lord takes her to be with Him. I also pray that she doesn't hesitate to call us and tell us she wants to come back to Cali, because I will fa sho put her ticket on my credit card and fly out here in a jiffy! haha. I pray for her good health and well being while she enjoys herslef the way God meant for her to, and that is, breathing the fresh air she once breathed when she was born, walking the same paths she walked growing up, sitting in the same home she sat in while she was raised, and just living happily ever after.

Lord, watch over my Gramma - she's my heart... not only that, she's my twin soul.

Dessarina Leata Niusulu


LoL. She'd always do this just to make us laugh.

See, what did I tell ya, just goofy and random!

Her teddy bear she named after herself, Pepa. haha.

Diva Gramma!